TigsTown MLN: Missing Hessman

While Mike Hessman was clubbing homers in Beijing, the Hens were making one thing clear: winning the West isn't going to be easy. They just want to put this road trip in the books.

The Hens started out August strong winning against third place Indianapolis 8-0. Eddie Bonine improved his record to 12-2 on the year and earned his first shutout of the season with the Hens. It wasn't long before Bonine eould pitch again. After three straight losses he took the mound again August 5. Now before this game Bonine-- making this his sixteenth start, was on a three game win steak, where he compiled a 0.85 ERA with 16 strikeouts and just four walks.

This game, however, turned out to be a nightmare. Bonine picked up the 10-8 loss against first place Louisville despite Jeff Larish's heroics of knocking two homer. The night before they were trampled on by the Bats, losing 11-0, in their first Monday evening loss all season. They are 12-3 overall on Mondays this year making a strong case for Monday luck.

The next night wasn't any better for fellow pitcher, Virgil Vazquez. The Hens scored early, but it was Louisville's steady pitching that earned them them the 8-4 victory. To date, Toledo is 39-42 versus Louisville since 2000, and 124-174 (.416) in the Modern Era. All time at Louisville Slugger Field they are 29-45 (.392).

Since the promotion of RHP Casey Fien, he has showed much promise in the Hens' pen. In his last appearances he has thrown 5.0 innings giving up only four hits and one walk while fanning five.

The Hens finished just below .500 for the month of July going 13-15 (.464), despite Bonine's shutout of Indianapolis.

While the closer chase is still on, it looks to be in RHP Francis Beltran's favor. In his last seven appearances (8.0 IP) he has not given up a single run.

It's been a tough all around Detroit and their farm, especially for the Mud Hens who are letting the Bats slip from their grasps of first place.

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